REV. 20:4 "And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands: and they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."
This is a long scripture, but it has a message all Christians need to understand. The greatest thought is: they were not raptured like many preachers are ignoring to inform. Also no earthly people can be more faithful to Christ than those described herein. They refused to deny Christ even when threatened to be beheaded. They chose rather to trust God in the prophesied and greatly feared tribulation. That devotion gave them a victory to reign with Jesus for a thousand years in the first resurrection, and assurance of eternal life. DUET. 4:30 "When thou art in tribulation and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days: if thou turn to the Lord Thy God; and shall be obedient to His voice: He will not forsake thee."
This is proof God knows the futures as well as He does the past. There is more than one place in the Old Testament where God warns of the dreaded tribulation that will be endured in the latter days. There are many signs right now causing bible scholars to believe we are seeing the beginning of that tribulation. ACTS 14:22 "confirming the souls of the disciples and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God." Christ also spoke those very same words.
The Apostle Paul did not at any time mention a rapture, but warned we would have to go through much tribulation to enter the Kingdom of God. Peter warned the same thing.
JOHN 16:33 "These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me you might have peace in the world. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
Here again Jesus warned of enduring tribulation in the world without mentioning a rapture. JOHN 17:15 "Father I pray not that THOU shouldest take them out of the world, but that THOU shouldest keep them from the evil." continued next week...